Sunday, 14 July 2019

ON THIS DAY IN 1984, CORBYN'S MATES

The Provisional IRA murdered two British soldiers in a landmine attack near the Irish border.  Eight members of the Ulster Defence Regiment were patrolling near the village of Castlederg in County Tyrone when the 200lb device was detonated.  The mid-morning attack was carried out from the safety of the Irish Republic, a few hundred yards away.  After triggering the device the terrorists opened fire on the stricken UDR patrol as they radioed for help.

Private Norman McKinley, 32, was killed instantly in the explosion.  His colleague, Corporal Heather Kerrigan, died en route to hospital.  She was 20.  Both soldiers were local Protestants and came from Castlederg.  Cpl Kerrigan's brother was also part of the patrol and was seriously injured.

David Kerrigan holds a picture of his murdered sister

Cpl Kerrigan's brother-in-law, also a member of the UDR, was murdered by the IRA four months earlier.  No-one was ever brought to justice for any of these murders, but in 2016 David Kerrigan told the media that he believed Martin McGuinness had information about the landmine attack.  Mr Kerrigan said that nothing happened on the Tyrone-Donegal border without McGuinness knowing about it.  McGuinness died a year later.

In 2014, following a service to mark the 30th anniversary of the attack, the temporary memorial was vandalised and a sign erected in its place that read "IRA 2 UDR 0".  The police removed the sign and said they were treating it as a hate crime.  Mr Kerrigan said the memorial was also desecrated five years earlier on the 25th anniversary of the soldiers' deaths.